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A change is as good as a rest ….

No view can beat that from the roof terrace of Dar Cilla, looking across to the mountains of the northern coast of Morocco with the shipping passing through the Strait of Gibraltar. At night the whole shoreline ‘on the other side’ is ablaze with lights-

However, a completely different view from the apartments of El Molino (tel,679 94 14 27) in Vejer which look down over rolling hills to the whole coastline to the left and right of El Palmar was riveting as the sun went down.

The owner is the son of the miller who ground the flour and made the bread in his outside oven for the locals. As modern bakeries came to be, the mill fell into disuse, and Juan’s wife had the vision to transform the outhouses into apartments with a charming garden. A bonus is the fact that the independent Italian restaurant El Macinino is part of this complex . The food is excellent, and what a joy it is not to have to move your car, but to enjoy dinner and then fall into bed in your nearby apartment. The next morning Vejer came to l ife very slowly, and by 11 a.m. we were able to enjoy a leisurely breakfast in the sun on the main square.

We then headed for Santa Lucia (a ten minute drive) and were early enough on a Saturday to find a table on the bamboo-protected terrace of El Toro where Antonio brought us ham, cheese and a very cold Manzanilla sherry. The stream clattered past us. We loved a simple meal of fried eggs and chips with a tomato salad that really tasted of tomatoes (from Antonio’s own vegetable garden). The area has now been discovered by the expat community so you need to be on time.

Then came the high spot of our day. We walked up the hill (past Restuarant Castilleria on our left, another great recommendation if you are in for a delicious meal of some of the best meat along the Costas, a Retinto beef that is superb) straight up the hill until a path veers left obviously leading you to the aqueduct. There has been so much rain in recent weeks that the stream was thundering down, the water falling directly into a rock basin, forming a totally natural jacuzzi. The brave amongst us (my friend) stripped off, plunged in, gasped as the water was very cold, but felt totally chuffed as she dried off afterwards. There was not another person in sight. This is something to do with children (under supervision) – they would love it.

There are so many exciting things to do very near home (home being Tarifa). So many beauty spots. So many charming, small authentic bars. And yet so many people stick to the beaten track. I had a wonderful weekend with a very dear friend.

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